"Fire River" by Lea Craigie-Marshall, 2018

A young girl, exploring what, to her, are the wilds of the land.  Hands and feet in the freezing waters, pulling striated rocks and raw gemstones from crystal clear waters.  Watching as the droplets of water fall from the newly discovered minerals back into the lake which seems to linger near the edge of the world.  Eager to know more, she brings them to her wise grandmother and, together, they tirelessly pour through a field guide of rocks and minerals in an effort to identify each and every one that she had found worthy.  To her, each and every one is so vibrant and alive!  Surely more so in her mind’s eye than in reality, but the polish of discovery gives each a radiance that makes them stand out in her mind, even years later.

My current collection of works, which I call “Cacapon,” springs from memories of playing in the waters in and around my grandparents’ home in Morgan County, WV.  I can still feel the crisp cold of the water flowing over my hands, pulling new and exciting stones from beneath the surface.  Like a gateway to another world, the river allowed me to explore things that could not exist on the other side – a feeling I explored and hope to inspire in these collected works.  Flowing beauty that exists somewhere between reality and the wishful thinking of a young girl with an untainted view of the world.

“Follicular” by Lea Craigie Marshall, 2017; available from Zenith Gallery, Washington, D.C.

In each piece, I sought to recreate the other-worldly miasma of color that I imagined as the source of the colorful minerals around me.  Using alcohol inks and my experience in controlling the flow of water colors, swirling worlds of color and motion emerged.  The stones themselves were created separately, and layered into the work to highlight their distinctness from each other and the water surrounding them. Finally, resin was applied to bind the environment together in the depths of water, inviting the viewer to imagine plunging their hands down to retrieve the stones and enjoy the same feelings of wonder and discovery that I felt as a child.  The world, changing slowly by its own means, disrupted by the curious hands of people.

“Stacked” is the work that I see as happening closest to the shoreline; within is the mixing of the two world, above and below the water’s surface.  Stones have been arranged as the water bubbles from a disturbance.  A footstep?  The hands of a child? Perhaps coyotes or bobcats that have come for a drink.  The dark colors of the fresh-water vegetation stain the rocks of the lake-bed a dark color while the blues of the sky are reflected in the clear water.

Each piece has it’s own story, unearthed and captured in this collection.

Lea Craigie-Marshall creates paintings, sculptures, collage, photography, murals and installation art. Her work is inspired by the natural world, current events, politics, and feminist values, and she aims to evoke feelings from the viewer that are unexpected. Lea has studied under private teachers and mentors in the art world over the past 20 years, and at the Art Institute of America, and Shepherd University. Lea has taught private and group art classes for a decade, and was invited in 2017 to participate in an artist’s residency in Columbia, Md. that offered her uninterrupted time to hone her painting technique. Her current public project is in Frederick, Md. where she is creating large-scale murals throughout the County Government’s building that houses the Animal Shelter and Adoption Center. Lea is a member of the Frederick County Artists Association Board, where she holds the position of Coordinating Secretary. She also has a studio in Frederick, Md at the Griffin Art Center. Lea’s artwork can be found at Zenith Gallery in Washington, DC. She currently also has work at Busboys and Poets in Washington, DC., and many more works reside in private collections. He work has been featured in articles in The Washington Post, The GW Hatchet, and Arlington Now, and she has been interviewed by Japanese National Television.

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